Kill Screen

What is a kill screen?

A screen that prevents progress by a user

A kill screen is a screen in a video game, gaming console, or some other electronic device that stops a user's current activity. The kill screen is typically a result of a malfunction, such as a bug in the game or defective hardware, or it may be due to restricted permissions or detected pirated content.

Kill screens became prevalent with the rise of arcade games. Many games provided no conclusion or final level a player could defeat. So when players played beyond the expected duration, it often caused glitches in the form of kill screens.

What does a kill screen look like?

A kill screen may include a message explaining the situation and why the user is encountering the interruption, like the infamous "BSOD." However, the screen might just contain gibberish code or be blank as the game or device kills the user's progress.

An example of when you might encounter a kill screen is when playing a game and a bug in the programming consistently produces a glitch on the same level, causing you to restart from the beginning. Or, you might be running a console with a defective fan, and it overheats, causing you to shut off the game. Unfortunately, there is no way around a kill screen.


When I reached a million points I got a kill screen, and promptly chucked the controller out of the window
Xbox kill screen created by TheGreatUnknown Productions
Xbox kill screen created by TheGreatUnknown Productions

Related Slang


Updated January 18, 2022

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This page explains what the slang term "Kill screen" means. The definition, example, and related terms listed above have been written and compiled by the team.

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